- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Republican leaders in the House already have said they won’t take up the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate earlier this year.

But that didn’t stop Vice President Joseph R. Biden from guaranteeing Wednesday that, eventually, the Senate measure — and its controversial pathway to citizenship provision — will become the law of the land.

“We’re going to pass this Senate bill that we’re talking about here. It’s going to happen,” Mr. Biden said during an online question-and-answer session, where he and Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s director of domestic policy, took questions via Twitter and Skype.

One woman asked whether her parents, who are not citizens, would eventually be deported, leading to Mr. Biden’s assurances that the Senate immigration reform bill will soon be law.

“You’re not going to have to worry about anything. And your parents aren’t going to have to worry about being deported,” Mr. Biden said. “They’re going to get in line and they’re going to move exactly the way the bill calls for and they’ll be able to earn their citizenship within a time frame that’s rational.”

Throughout the session, Mr. Biden and Ms. Munoz expressed unbridled optimism that the nation’s broken immigration system will be reformed and improved over the next several years. As reason for their hope, they both cited the fact that immigration reform enjoys support from both Republicans and Democrats, and also is backed by a majority of the American people.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform

But the vice president’s unqualified promise that the Senate bill will clear the House and be enacted appears, at least right now, to be unrealistic.

House Speaker John A. Boehner — who Mr. Biden specifically blamed for holding up reform — has stated flatly that his chamber will not take up the Senate measure, and instead will embark on its own process that addresses immigration reform in pieces.

The Senate bill, by contrast, wraps border security, a pathway to citizenship, employment verification measures and other steps into one massive piece of legislation.

“We’ve made it clear that we’re going to move on a common-sense, step-by-step approach in terms of how we deal with immigration,” Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said last month. “The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House. And frankly, I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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